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The Philosophy Of Mooncake History of Chinese New Year

May 31, 2016 | Asian Culture

he Mooncake Festival, also known as the Mid-Autumn Festival or Choong Chou, is a yearly Chinese festival celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month, when the moon is said to be at its biggest, brightest and closest to the earth. Held in close conjunction with the Lantern Festival, the Mooncake Chinese new year Festival has come to be associated with bright and colorful lanterns.

A mooncake is a Chinese bakery product traditionally eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival (Zhongqiujie). The festival is for lunar worship and moon watching, when mooncakes are regarded as an indispensable delicacy. Mooncakes are offered between friends or on family gatherings while celebrating the festival or mooncake chinese new year . The Mid-Autumn Festival is one of the four most important Chinese festivals.

The Philosophy Of Mooncake History of Chinese New Year

Mooncake Chinese New Year

In every Chinese home, a rich brown round “cake” more like a pie of sorts is cut and served. Round shapes symbolize return a full circle in Chinese philosophy. A fundamental canon of Taoism is perfect harmony achieved through the union of man’s spirit with nature. Thus, the traditional round shapes of mooncakes and older round paper lanterns have come to symbolize an occasion for family reunion to the Chinese.

The roots of the Mooncake Chinese New Year Festival may lie in the harvest festivals of old, which were celebrated with thanksgiving, especially after a plentiful harvest. Such harvest festivals were celebrated not only by the Chinese, but by many cultures, including those in the West. The Mooncake Festival however, has a more significantly patriotic undertone to it. In the ways of the Chinese, a simple symbol encapsulates a universe of deep meanings: tales of romance, immortality, regeneration and hope; a history lesson complete with reminders to diligently guard the independence and integrity of the Chinese people.

History of Chinese New Year

History of chinese new year it is unclear when the exact beginning of the New Year celebration in China is. Normally, it was said to start from the year end religious ceremony during the Shang Dynasty (1766 BC – 1122 BC). A few believe that it started from as early as Emperor Yao and Shun (~2300 BC). At the beginning, the date of celebration varied from mid-winter to early spring. With the maturity of the solar base calendar, Emperor Wu (157 BC – 87 BC) of the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220), established the first day of the first month as the beginning of the year, where it remains. The history of chinese new year following is a brief list:

  • Emperor Yao and Emperor Shun (~ 2300 BC):
    small scale New Year celebration type of activities.
  • Shang Dynasty (1766 BC – 1122 BC):
    New Year celebration started from religious ceremony.
  • Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220):
    New Year celebration is official at the first day of the first month and crack bamboo appeared. (Crack bamboo will create loud cracking sound when put on fire. It is believed that the sound drives away evil.)
  • Wei Dynasty (220 – 265) and Jin Dynasty (265 – 420):
    Fireworks used in New Year celebration. The tradition of Shou Sui formed.
  • Song Dynasty (960 – 1279):
    Fireworks using gun powder began.

According to tales and legends, the beginning of history Chinese New Year started with the fight against a mythical beast called the “Year”. The “Year” looks like an ox with a lion head and inhabits in the sea. At the night of New Year’s Eve, the “Year” will come out to harm people, animals, and properties. Later, people found that the “Year” fears the color red, fire, and loud sounds. Therefore, for self-protection, people formed the habit of posting red Dui Lian in front of their house as well as launching fireworks, and hanging lanterns at year end.

 

 

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